Jerusalem: New violence erupted in the West Bank on Thursday, with three Palestinian attackers shot dead as they carried out stabbings and a car ramming and another killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers.
The upsurge came after nearly three months of attacks and protests but with the violence having become less frequent in recent weeks.
The ongoing unrest has led to a sharp decrease in pilgrims travelling to the West Bank city of Bethlehem, where the Bible says Jesus was born, for Christmas Eve celebrations and the traditional midnight mass at the Church of the Nativity.
Early Thursday, a Palestinian stabbed two security guards at an entrance to an industrial zone at the Jewish settlement of Ariel, the largest in the north of the occupied West Bank, before being shot dead. Both of the victims suffered moderate wounds, police said.
The assailant was identified as Mohammed Zahran, 23, from the nearby village of Kafr Addik.
Later, a Palestinian tried to attack soldiers with a screwdriver at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Hebron and was shot dead. The Palestinian health ministry identified him as Iyad Idaissat, 25, from the village of Yatta.